Rangitoto Island rose from the sea about 600 years ago, making it the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf. It is also a short ferry ride away from downtown Auckland, and warrants a hike to the summit.
Rangitoto is a Maori name meaning “bloody sky.” However, the name is derived from the phrase “Te Rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua” or “the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed,” a reference to the injury of a chief during a battle fought on the island. (“Rangitoto Island & Motutapu.” Fullers. Summer 2011/2012)
Today, the island is home to New Zealand’s largest Pohutakawa forest as well as more than 200 native plant species — most considered rare. There are no permanent residents on the island. (“Rangitoto Island & Motutapu.” Fullers. Summer 2011/2012)
I chose to explore on foot, instead of by vehicle, and made my way to the summit. The sharp contrast between luscious green forest and beds of ebony volcanic rock hint at the powerful forces that created Rangitoto Island.
Onward to the North tomorrow. I will be stopping in Paihia before driving to the most northern point: Cape Reinga.
“Rangitoto Island & Motutapu.” Fullers. Summer 2011/2012.